Review: Presidents Golf Course

Course Name: Presidents Golf Course

Designer: Unknown (1895), Tom Fazio/George Fazio (1977, Redesign)

Location: North Quincy, Massachusetts

History: The land this golf club was built on was originally the old Wollaston Golf Club built in 1895. Francis Ouimet, the star in The Greatest Game Ever Played, grew up playing this course. In the early 1970’s, Wollaston moved to Milton, Ma. and the Fazio brothers arrived to design the current day Presidents Golf Course.

Conditions: 6/10, The conditioning on this course was inconsistent. The bunkers and greens were in very good shape and the majority of the teeboxes and fairways were pristine. However, there were some random areas of barren grass on almost every hole.

Value: 7/10, For its proximity to Boston, this course is a pretty good deal. Weekdays will only cost you $39 and there are plenty of deals for juniors, seniors, military, and twilight golfers.

Scorecard:

Tee                      Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Back                   70           5750              68.1                125

Middle               70           5260              66.2               118

Front                  70           4425              66.8              113

Best Score: 83 (Back Tees), 10/8/2016 with Mike S.

Front 9 Best: 42 (Back Tees), 10/8/2016 with Mike S.

Back 9 Best: 41 (Back Tees), 10/8/2016 with Mike S.

Hole Highlights: Built right into a hill on the side of I-93, this was a course that I always wanted to play as I drove to Boston. It looked incredible, and indeed some of these holes have cool designs. The 1st hole plays at a short 360 yards. The green is blind after your drive and this green is ridiculously sloped, as are most on the course. I don’t think I had a straight putt the entire day. Presidents features six par 3’s and many of them are short to conserve space. This felt kind of cheap to me and was evident on the 2nd hole, a 115 yarder which a strange triangular green. The third hole was one of the clear highlights on the course for me. At just 296 yards, this is one of the most intimidating tee shots I’ve ever faced. This drive is straight uphill and the entire fairway slopes left towards woods. A large tree also blocks the right side of the tee in case you were thinking about bailing out right. The 4th hole was another fantastic hole in my opinion and clearly the best par 3 on the course. At 175 yards, this hole’s elevated teebox allows you a beautiful clear view of the Boston skyline.

The par 5’s on this course are short but play more difficult than their yardage would let on. The 5th hole is an a perfect example of this at 470 yards. This hole plays extremely uphill on the drive to a plateau but then dives down towards a well-bunkered green. The 6th hole is the second handicap, and it’s clear that this hole would be challenging from the teebox. A slight dogleg left, the landing area for this drive is minuscule, especially with trees jutting out on the left. Even a perfect drive on this long 439 yarder will leave you a blind shot to a tiny green. At 140 yards, the 7th is another short rather forgettable par 3 that there should be only one of on a course. After a solid 399 yard straightaway par 4, the finishing 9th hole is probably the most classy design on the front 9. At 334 yards, this short par 4 appears much longer off the tee and your drives must pass through a chute of trees. At about 260 yards, the fairway turns uphill and to the right, leaving fun approaches to this green.

I thought the back 9 featured some very quirky hole designs. This manifests early on at the 10th hole, a 150 yarder that goes straight downhill. I hit 9 iron here and felt like the ball was in the air for 10 seconds.  At just 267 yards, the par 4 11th is “reachable” but I don’t think the reward is worth the risk. This green is elevated, with multiple pot bunkers in front and OB on the left. Marshland spans about 150 yards to this fairway and will catch any topped tee shots. At 509 yards, the par 5 12th is the longest on the course, but also one of the most forgettable holes. It is straightaway and has a large eyesore of a net on the right side of this fairway. The 13th shares a teebox with the 17th and is a very solid uphill par 3. At 185 yards, this hole plays much longer than its distance and the entire green sloped right towards some pretty devastating bunkers.

While the 15th gets the most talk, I found the 14th to be the most interesting design on the course. This sharp dogleg par 4 features an elevated teebox with the words “Presidents Golf Course” carved out in the bushes on the adjacent hill. At about 250 yards, this fairway turns sharply left and drives that go over the fairway or right will end up in the marshes. Hooked drives will likely find a set of fairway bunkers on the left side of the fairway after the dogleg. Longer drivers can use the elevated tee to their advantage and cut the corner here by flying the trees on the left. As I said above, the 15th is their “signature” hole, but I found it incredibly tacky. This J-shaped par 5 curls around marshland and features an incredibly narrow fairway. It is completely reasonable that some players will hit 5 iron-5 iron to reach this green in two. Judging by my failed attempt to lay-up on this narrow fairway, I would recommend trying to go for the green in two, as it is equidistant to the fairway due to the curve. The 16th is a another reachable par 5, this time an uphill 507 yarder. On your approach shot, this fairway narrows and slopes left. The 17th is another short but fantastic par 4. Bunkers 210 yards on the left side of the fairway make all players question driver and a large pot bunker directly in front of this green makes the downhill approach much more challenging. Unfortunately, the finishing hole is another mundane short par 3, and a good chance at birdie as well.

General Comments: Presidents is extremely cramped and there is no driving range for this reason. There is, however, a nice putting and chipping green by the clubhouse. The clubhouse is pretty unspectacular and I don’t have the greatest opinion of the marshall. He followed my group all day, and failed to do his only job at keeping up pace of play. Speaking of pace of play, we finished the first 5 holes in 30 minutes, but sat through the next 13 in a grueling 4.5 hours. This course was full of hackers, and having teeboxes so close to greens was extremely dangerous. I will also note that Logan Airport is close to Presidents, and about 100 planes flew low over our heads during the round.

Verdict: Quirky and quite polarizing for a variety of reasons, Presidents is worth a try to form your own opinion. If you want a cheaper alternative to Granite Links and are in the Boston area, I recommend it.

 

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